Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Is a Philosophy degree worth doing?

It is possible to sum up my answer to this question in one word, YES. But nonetheless I will provide some of my thoughts to back up my assertion and make my case that Philosophy is possibly one of the best degrees you could do.

Philosophy is an oft ridiculed degree and it is my opinion that this unfair. Their is a strong perception that all philosophers do is to pose unanswerable and ridiculous questions making the subject completely trivial. This is a total misrepresentation of Philosophy as I understand it. Philosophy has and always will be at the forefront of trying to get grips with some of the most important issues there are. Research in Applied Ethics and the Philosophy of Mind are just two areas of philosophy were cutting edge research is being undertaken which may change the way we think about many important issues.  

The importance of Philosophy as both foundational to the sciences and asking some of the most important questions that face us on a day to day basis. I can see this can be clearly missed by those who don't really understand philosophy or have bought into the myth portrayed by many in the media that philosophy is a useless and trivial academic pursuit. Some of this criticism may arise from the high profile that certain deconstructionists such as Derrida have received. It should be pointed out that Derrida's work has been somewhat more influential in the field of literary criticism. I feel Philosophers should be somewhat aggrieved with the treatment Philosophy often receives. 

A very annoying question often put to Philosophy students is 'What are you going to do with that?'.  I feel there is two ways to answer this question. My initial reaction to such an impertinent question is when did the sole purpose of education become to simply get a high paying graduate job? Education has intrinsic as well as instrumental value, I feel that undertaking a Philosophy degree has enriched my life in a way that doing a degree in say Accounting wouldn't. The second answer to this question is 'Anything', I feel a Philosophy degree provides those who undertake it with the analytic and linguistic skills to really compete in competitive and dynamic job market. Quite frankly I feel that a degree in Philosophy is significantly more challenging than some other more vocational subjects that people seem willing to embrace with open arms. I would even go as far to say that Philosophy is one of the more challenging 

My thoughts on the practical use of a Philosophy degree aren't just the mad ramblings of one undergraduate Philosophy student but seem to be backed up by increasing real world evidence. Other the past couple of years I have noticed an increased number of articles in the British media promoting the usefulness of the degree in terms of post graduate employment and I'm glad to see that Philosophy is beginning to be treated with the respect it deserves. 

Further Reading 
Guardian Article on Post Graduate Employment

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